Simplified growing guide
The sativa varieties tend to
- grow, especially during their flowering phase
- be resistant to the heat, but by contrast they do not cope well in the cold
- produce long buds
- have a psychedelic/ euphoria-inducing effect
The indica varieties tend to
- be small in size
- cope well in the cold
- produce dense buds
- have a deeply relaxing effect which is both physical and mental
The auto-flowering varieties
- are produced using cannabis ruderalis
- are generally Indica/ Sativa hybrids
- are quite small
- flower for a very brief period of time
- are not influenced by the photoperiod (they even flower during periods of over 12 hours of light)
The 10 growing stages
1° Choose the right location and think carefully about the positioning
- On a balcony, in a garden, a forest, the mountains, etc…
- In a room, a basement, a cupboard, etc…
- Easy access to water and fresh air is needed/li>
- Pay attention to the ambient temperature (a basement in winter, a room in the summer, etc…).
- Don’t forget about security: light, smell, neighbours!
Using a grow tent is a simple and effective way to create the ideal environment!
2° Choose your growing lamp and its strength
- MH (Metal-halide) lamps, give off a cold (blue) light which is suitable for the growing period
- HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) lights give off warm (red) light which is suitable for the flowering phase
- LEDs avoid the problems of heat but will offer a lower yield than an HPS light.
- 1000 Watts = 1.5 m from the ground
- 600 Watts = 1.2 m from the ground
- 400 Watts = 1 m from the ground
For successful growing you can count 1 gram per watt – e.g. 1000 Watts will produce 1000 grams (1kg).
3° Choose your substrate
+ Allows for the possibility of fine-tuning it (perlite, vermiculite, compost, etc…)
+ It is a substrate which offers great flexibility and therefore allows a greater margin for error
+ Buds tend to have a stronger, more complex flavour and scent compared with other substrates
– if the topsoil isn’t well sterilised, you might have to deal with insects
– heavy to transport and move into place as well as remove
+ Ideal for tidal systems
+ a substrate with a great network capacity
+ Fewer harmful insects
+ The roots are more resistant to the heat
– heavy to transport and move into place as well as remove
– not as flexible as topsoil
+ Swift flowering
+ If done properly the yield can exceed that of other techniques
– A more significant initial investment
– Requires much more work
– Using hydroponics is quite an unforgiving growing method
4° Choose your fertiliser (your nutrients)
- According to the growing period (nitrogen-rich nutrients (N))
- According to the flowering period (phosphorous and potassium-rich nutrients (K))
- Adapt your fertiliser to your substrate
For the purists it is entirely possible to make your own fertiliser instead of buying it in a specialist shop.
5° Choose your seeds
6° Seed germination
7° The growing period
At this stage, the key thing is to keep the plants watered and check the PH and EC regularly (with the use of a PH and EC tester) in order to avoid nutrient and acidity problems.
If you are using large amounts of nutrients and additives, use normal water from time to time to avoid nutrients accumulating in your equipment (pots, tray, tables, etc…).
The amounts of nutrients (fertiliser) to give varies according to the week, you should refer to the growing plan for the brand of fertiliser you use.
- Make sure that you always maintain the distance between the lamps and the top of the plants, cannabis is a very vigorous plant and will grow quickly, plus the growing lamps are on for 18 hours a day at this point.
- The longer the growing stage the bigger the plants will be, which can present problems if the available vertical space is insufficient.
8° The flowering period
- Flowering is triggered from the moment there are 12 hours of light per day (use a timer indoors).
- Move on to flowering phase when your plant has reached half of the final desired height (that can vary depending on the variety). Remember, the plant can double in size once you reach 12 hours of daylight.
- During the first two weeks of flowering the plants will grow quickly, this is called the “stretch” period and is not generally thought of as being part of the flowering time, even if the lamps are set to 12 hours.
- When your plants start to flower, don’t forget to check that they’re all female. Clearly you don’t need to worry about this if your using feminised seeds or clones.
- The amount of nutrients (fertiliser) to give varies, continue referring to the growing plan for the brand of fertiliser you use.
9° The harvest
The best way of knowing when to harvest is by checking the colour of the pistils, when they start to brown that means the plant is maturing.
You can use a magnifying glass to check your flowers and see if the trichomes are full of resin; although this isn’t 100% necessary it at least allows you to time your harvest with some precision.
In any case, once 60 to 70% of all the plant’s pistils are brown, the THC level will have peaked, at which point it’s time to harvest.
! If you wait longer (and 70 to 90% of the pistils are brown) some of the THC will turn into CBN which gives less of a “high” but more of a relaxing effect.
For optimal results, take the time to dry the flowers correctly and then place them in a suitable container.
Once the plant is ready to be harvested it needs to be cut back, remove the excess leaves, cut off the flowers and trim them as best you can.
Then you need to put them somewhere where they can dry out, if possible at ambient temperature and in the dark (a cupboard, tent dryer, etc…).
After between 5 and 7 days, depending on the humidity level in the drying room, the flowers really begin to dry out while remaining flexible up to a point, now it’s time for phase 2 ->
Place the flowers in an opaque container, filling it no more than 80% (a bin bag, canister, jars, etc…), you should open it twice a day to stir the flowers inside around correctly, continue this phase for approximately 1 week.
Finally, it’s time to store the harvest, and for that what better than glass jars placed in a dark and dry place.
After these two weeks of drying the flowers will still continue to mature for a while, that will become obvious from the smell and the flavour!!